The November ’05 issue of WH featured four of trainer Andy Moorman’s favorite drills for improving a horse’s collection. Here’s another collection-enhancing exercise used by the Venice, Florida, horsewoman.

Drill: Walk in a circle.

What you do: Bring your horse’s head around to the side, near the cinch area, and walk in a very small circle. Use your inside leg to keep your horse’s hind end stepping ahead with every stride. Do this in both directions.

Why: “Every horse has a good side and a bad side,”Moorman explains, “and so do riders. Heaven forbid that your bad side might be your horse’s bad side. Exercises like this get you back to basics and tune up those rusty places.”

Not only that, adds Moorman, but a horse also easily loses his walking rhythm. In small circles, he tends to freeze up and stop engaging his hindquarters. This exercise encourages your horse to keep reaching deeply behind, thereby improving collection. Your horse also must reach across with his inside hind leg with every stride. This is a great cool-down exercise, Moorman notes.

How: Walk your horse in a very small circle. Bend your horse to the inside, bringing his head around near the cinch area and leaving the outside rein loose. Use rhythmic pressure from your inside leg to keep his hind end stepping ahead with every stride. After six or eight revolutions, allow your horse to straighten for a few strides, then bend him in the other direction and repeat the exercise .

Trends to Know About

“The days of buyer-beware are gone,” states Skip. “Today, reputable auctions are frequented by seasoned buyers looking for good horses. People are finding auctions a better use of their time than tracking down widely scattered individual prospects.”

Jann agrees, adding that focused sales are helping the auction business attract both seasoned and first-time buyers.

“Specialty auctions, such as the ones we present, are becoming increasingly popular,” shares Jann. “These focused sales are beneficial to both buyer and seller.”

And, as with anything, the horse industry goes through fazes when one breed of horse is more popular than others. This directly affects that breed’s price at auction. But fads are fickle; what’s popular today may be old news tomorrow.

“At one time, Paint Horses brought high prices at our auctions,” said Brett. “But, due to overbreeding, that market became flooded. Now, there are more nice Paints than ever before but they’re selling for about half of what Quarter Horses go for.”

A Power-Shopping Disclaimer

“Despite how great the horse looked and acted at the sale, once you get it home, you’ll find its own peculiarities,” warns Skip. “The reality rarely matches the dream.”

There’s simply no such thing as a perfect horse, regardless of the price, Skip cautions.

But if you’re realistic about your expectations, do your homework and stick to your game plan, you won’t be disappointed power-shopping at horse auctions.

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